Over the last week or so, there have been a number of high-profile individuals, including politicians and social commentators, as well as a number of Australians generally, publicly arguing either for or against the relocation of Australia Day to a date other than 26 January.
The topic appears to be garnering particularly more attention this year, with much passion exhibited on either side accompanying their respective demands for change or status quo. I will not go into the pros and cons of those arguments here.
Ensure discussions at work are respectful
From an HR perspective, though, it is vital that you ensure that any discussion on this potentially emotive topic within the workplace, and also across employee-connected “social media” platforms, accords with your values, the law and the culture you want to encourage.
Any topic of public interest will inevitably be reflected in the everyday conversations of staff. No doubt there was recently a number of conversations around same-sex marriage in your workplace, and a host of other topics too, including issues of (historic) sexual harassment allegations against public figures.
If you have been diligent, then you will have already set up the environment, communication protocols, leadership and tone of your workplace so that a culture of respect, and its cohort of accountability, empathy, curiosity and enquiry, will enable conversations to rationally explore the different competing views which will always exist when significant social questions are raised.
Of course, the law sets the boundaries for how we treat, behave and act towards each other, in all parts of our lives, including the workplace.
In short, be civil and be respectful: hardly a stretch target.
Deeply held racist views expressed in the workplace are unacceptable, and illegal. They not only demean others, but also jeopardise the culture, values and fabric of the workplace generally.
Hopefully your aspired workplace values of not only respect, but also inclusion, demonstrating true diversity, together with ones around communication and collaboration, in particular, active listening, analytical thinking and problem solving, will all help meaningful and appropriate dialogue to occur about the topic of “national celebration day date change”.
About Grevis Beard
Grevis Beard is the co-founder and Director of Worklogic and has amassed significant knowledge of the dynamics of workplace disputes and their resolution from more than a decade’s experience at Worklogic. Grevis works with a range of clients to improve workplace communication and behaviour, manage workplace risks and handle complaints by conducting workplace investigations, mediations and reviews.
Worklogic works with employers to resolve workplace complaints and create a positive culture at work. Please contact Grevis for an obligation-free, confidential discussion on any challenges you face embracing moral courage at your workplace.
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